Dateline   |  February 02, 2014

Kidnapped, Part 1

Freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout heads into war-torn Somalia.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> amanda, i love you.

>> narrator: it's hard to imagine being the mother on the other end of this call.

>> if you guys don't pay $1 million for me by one week, they will kill me, okay?

>> narrator: her daughter was on the phone a world away, she had been kidnapped in one of the most dangerous places on earth.

>> i feel so awful, i can't believe they're doing this. i hate doing this to you guys.

>> narrator: this mother negotiated with kidnappers, with her daughter's life on the line.

>> did you keep it together?

>> i did. i had to be strong for her.

>> narrator: and the daughter faced unimaginable fears.

>> my head is pulled back, and then there was a serrated knife.

>> narrator: their stories are intertwined, amanda lindhout and her mother , melinda stewart, a mother driven by strength, courage and most of all endurance. a story amman za anda is telling for the first time in a book she's written and tonight. amanda 's childhood wasn't idyll idyllic, her parents divorced when she was 8, her mother worked mostly cashier jobs to raise three children. life wasn't easy for mother and daughter. amanda yearned even after an early age for a world beyond her hometown.

>> one constant was that i wanted to be a world traveler, i wanted to go to every country in the wor the world.

>> you're a kid and how old are you?

>> 12 years old.

>> the images that i saw on " national geographic " was everything that my hometown wasn't, a dream really.

>> narrator: amanda realized her dream when she was 19 after saving up from her job as a waitress, she went on for first trip to venezuela.

>> the whole world was wide open to me at that time.

>> narrator: so wide open , she travelled to guatemala and the middle east . and on a trip to africa in 2006 , she found not only adventure, but something else. love.

>> i see an attractive manage sitting on the porch in front of the hotel and that was nigel brennan.

>> narrator: nigel , an australian photo journalist was drawn to her as well.

>> what were those first weeks of your relationship like?

>> i saw him capturing images and telling stories that he felt really passionate about.

>> narrator: but the passion and adventure that amanage da -- amanda in africa was short lived. he had a wife.

>> he told me he had something to addition close. i felt sort of devastated by that news.

>> narrator: amanda and nigel went their separate ways. she went to india.

>> you cross boundaries. going from india to pakistan, it did feel like a big deal to me, it was something i really wanted to do, and i did it. and afghanistan was right next door.

>> narrator: mom lorinda wasn't thrilled but she said her daughter was headstrong, and the more amanda traveled, the more she saw a path to a career.

>> at first she was traveling just for the sake of traveling and seeing the world. then she thought, i would love to write about the people that i'm meeting.

>> narrator: amanda sold her first story in photos about the remote kuchi people of after staafter -- afghanist afghanistan. working for iran was less than ideal, but amana managmmaanda hoped it was a steppingstone to another job.

>> to be paid to live somewhere exotic must have been really attractive.

>> yeah, absolutely.

>> narrator: but war reporting was more daunting than she expected.

>> i'm also starting to look like a little bit further out on to the horizon. what other stories are out there that i feel passionate about? at the top of my list was somalia .

>> narrator: somalia , one of the most dangerous countries on the planet, so much so few reporters travelled there. there's been no national government for more than 20 years. islamic rebels rule much of the country, but amana managmmaanda on her own as a freelance journalist wanted to make a name for hers.

>> she told me that she was going to somalia .

>> narrator: kelley cox was amanaa mana amanda 's best friend. they had traveled together before she went to somalia .

>> she said that there was children starving in the refugee camp and no one was telling their story.

>> narrator: as amanda was starting this new phase of her professional life, her personal life intruded. she heard from nigel after his divorce.

>> you tell him where you're going?

>> i tell him where i'm going and he's still interested in pursuing journalism. why not invite him to go with me?

>> narrator: ammanda told her mother about the trip.

>> were you, to use your mom's words, a little headstrong?

>> i was headstrong and i was even a touch naive. i don't think that i had spent enough time throughout any 20s on what would happen if something went wrong.

>> he said to me, your head, your head alone is worth half a million dollars in mogadishu, be careful.